Friday, April 24, 2009

Methodist Church Observes 100th Year

The Seymour Herald - 22 December 1955
By Susie R. Sidles
  The year 1955 is the centennial year of the Jerome Methodist church.  It was observed at an all-day meeting September 18, 1955. At that time several papers gave a brief history. So many have asked questions and discussed the past 100 years that I have tried to collect the history as far as possible.
  The first history there is any record of was collected by Ettie Sidles, now Mrs. J. E. Condra, for an Old People's Day that was observed in 1905. The pastor of the church was Rev. George Blagg. For this occasion the local people had part in the program and Rev. Springer, the foster father of Rev. Blagg, gave the address. His text was Colossians 8-11, "Christ is all and in All."
  At that time a number of people were living that remembered the building of the first church and Miss Sidles collected from the the following history in part.
  In 1855 the Jerome Methodist church was organized. The first meetings were held at the George Jackson home about five miles west of Jerome. The people remember the circuit rider's name being Allender and the conference journal gave the name Richard Ballender as entering the conference in 1854. It is presumed it was he.
First Conference Held
  The first conference session was held in Iowa City in 1844, so it was only 10 years later the Jerome circuit was organized. This circuit composed the greater part of Appanoose county.
  After holding services at Jackson's for about one year they then came to the home of William McClain. The farm for many years was owned by Jesse Kinney and is now the C. E. Ervin farm.
  They continued holding services then until after the school house was built in 1857.
  In the fall of 1870, they commenced to build a church. The work was mostly donated. Men took their teams and wagons and went into Missouri and cut the lumber and hauled it to the mill and from the mill, home. They would often be gone a week and sometimes two before they returned home. The heavy lumber was gotten in this way and the flooring, siding, and shingles were hauled from Albia. Rev. J. M. Loughridge was the pastor. He was a local minister and lived northwest of Jerome on a farm. 
Dedication Was in 1871
  James Hagan and Allan Taylor superintended the carpenter work. Mrs. Hagan and Mrs. Calvin Jackson boarded the workmen without cost. In October 1871 the building was dedicated. The land for the church was deeded to them by Peter and Susan Sidles. It was a gift and the deed was recorded June 23, 1871.
  Older people telling of this dedication said it was a great day and the house was crowded.
  Women of the community had donated rags and Mrs. Jackson had woven carpets for the aisles.
  The dedicatory address was given by a Rev. Jenico and his text was taken from John 6-12, "Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost."
  The charter members of the church were Jim Kinney and wife; George Jackson and wife; Delila Jackson, mother of Calvin Jackson; and a woman known as Grandma Thomas.
  The trustees were Calvin E. Jackson, James Hagan, John Pendergast, Peter Sidles and James M. Kinney.
Organ Purchased in 1886
  There was no musical instrument until 1886 when an organ was purchased. Mamie Kinney was the first organist and continued until her death in 1893. This organ lasted until the present piano was purchased in 1903.
  Many remember several years later the lovely music furnished by Ova Kinney, his sister Maude, and John Shelton and daughter, ...., who ran a store in Jerome ... years.  Effie Kinney, now Mrs. Effie Houx of Cedar Rapids, accompanied them and was the organist for many years.
  J. W. Pendergast was Sunday school superintendent many years in the old church. But there were others, Jane Barton, D. D. Wilson, Emma Hagan, now Mrs. Ogle, and Ettie Sidles, now Mrs. Condra, and no doubt others.
  One person who will always be remembered as a part of the old church was the janitor, W. R. Morrison, a well known character who built fires, rang the bell, put oil in the lamps, and was present for all occasions for many years.  He came to the community with Peter Sidles and James Hagan from Ohio in 1854 and remained here until his death May 22, 1918.
  During a great revival, under the leadership of Rev. J. H. Krenmyre in 1909, the church grew and the town had grown because of the mining industry and many people began to want a new church.
Old Church Sold
  On May 6, 1911, the old church was sold by the well-known auctioneer Ben Wells, who donated his services, and it was purchased by Henry Purdy for $200. It was moved down into the town and for many years was used for a store building, but was recently sold to the county and used for county machinery.
  As a farewell service in the old church a program was given and Mrs. Ettie Condra gave a brief history of the church again and wrote the following poem:

          And now old church, we say good bye,
          Your doors to us will close,
          You've stood the test for many years,
          Like members of your fold.

          You've ever had a welcome hand,
          To rich and poor alike.
          You've done your best for two score years,
          To lead men to the light.

          You've been the scene of sad events,
          Held many a breaking heart.
          They've gathered here from far and near,
          When pierced by trouble's dart.

          You've been the scene of joy supreme,
          When souls so tired of sin,
          Found to their greatest happiness,
          That Christ could them redeem.

          Many good times we've had together,
          Both in fair and stormy weather.
          But at last we say farewell,
          We can hear the parting knell.

          Nothing earthly can abide,
          There must come an even tide.
          And to all sometime, some day,
          Comes the parting of the way.

          So it has come the time to go,
          We feel sad that it is so.
          But thy day and work is o'er,
          And 'tis best to close the door.

          And as we new duties take,
          And our new acquaintance make,
          May it be to us most dear,
          Dearer with each coming year.

          May we to it believe true,
          Doing all that we can do.
          Knowing what is done in love,
          Will be done for Him above.

          Done for Him whose watchful eye,
          Guides the earth, the seas, the sky.
          And who'll lead us by the hand,
          Till we reach the golden strand.

          And when we assemble there,
          And in wonder view the scenes so fair,
          Scenes ever new as we behold,
          For in heaven things will n'er grow old.

  The building committee for the new church was Joe Barton, chairman; David Loofburrow, treasurer, and L. J. Norris.  The local minister was James Priestnal. Since there was no fund to start with these men worked very hard and spent many hours collecting the money.  Much credit was given David Loofburrow and Joe Barton for hours spent collecting the funds. D. D. Wilson was the carpenter and was known as a perfect workman. It was dedicated Dec. 17, 1911. The seating capacity was 300 and the house was filled. Rev. E. J. Shook, the district superintendent, preached, using as his text I Chronicles 17-12, "He shall build me an house and I shall establish his throne forever." The local minister at the time was Rev. J. H. Krenmyre.
Church Remembered in Will
  At the death of Anna Gorman in 1937 her will continued from the will of Mrs. Maria Pendergast left half their possessions to the Jerome Methodist church. Their home in Jerome was soon sold and a small sum of cash was collected and there was much enthusiasm that a kitchen and social room be built on the church.  It had been talked of at the time the church was built but there were not sufficient funds.
  On June 27, 1939, the church people and trustees met to discuss plans for the addition. Several who were trustees did not care to serve as a building committee and they finally organized with J. W. Workman, G. D. Mincks, L. J. McElvain, Mrs. G. D. Mincks and Susie Sidles. The pastor was Rev. J. E. McClellan.
  The contract was let Aug. 7, 1939, to Claude Lepper and Roy Packard of Numa. Except the money from the Gorman fund the money was raised by small subscriptions from many people, the largest being from Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stark. Much labor was donated.
  The dedication was Nov. 19, 1939. Dr. Levi P. Goodman, then district superintendent, preached, using as his text Ezekiel 47-9. The basket dinner at noon in the new room was attended by 200 people. Two former pastors, Rev. J. A. Wilson and Rev. S. P. Trostle, were present. It was dedicated in memory of Mrs. Maria Pendergast and Anna Gorman.
  Another occasion when church history was read and is remembered by many as a "big day" was when the 65th anniversary was observed in 1920. The Rev. S. P. Trostle was the pastor, Rev. W. H. Perdew, district superintendent, preached the sermon, and the Rev. F. V. Getty, pastor at Exline, had part in the service.
  Since there was much need for more Sunday school room and the Gorman estate had been fully settled, there was much talk of extending the old kitchen into the social room and adding a new kitchen.
  In the fall of 1953 the official board met and again chose J. W. Workman as chairman of a building committee with Eugene Glenn and Mrs. Gail Felkner.  Various committees were chosen for different things and Mrs. Joe Beer had a large part in planning the kitchen. Paul McElvain was treasurer.
  The old church was completely renovated and blocks put on the ceiling, walls redecorated, floors sanded and a porch built on the front. Mrs. Charley McGavran, Mrs. W. R. Hefner and Susie Sidles ere in charge of that work. Carl Barbaglia of Mystic was the carpenter and Paul Felkner assisted him much of the time.
  Many hours of labor were donated by men of the church and community. Some donated as much as two weeks labor.  Everything was completed in early January 1954. The church and all additions were dedicated free of debt. 
   The Epworth League was originally organized in 1889. Three years later an Epworth League was organized at Jerome Aug. 14, 1892. W. B. Williams, then of Centerville, came out and organized with 18 members. J. L. Payne, then a merchant here, was made president and Miss Ella Thomas, the late Mrs. George Sidles, was secretary. There has been an Epworth League or MYF with only a few short periods of disbanding through the years. Some of the Epworth League presidents were Emma Ogle, Ettie Sidles, Cadd Hawkins, Susie Sidles, Mrs. Joe Barton and many others.  MYF leaders have been Mrs. A. F. Hawkins, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Felkner, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mincks and the present sponsor is Peter Sidles.
  People remember the early ladies aid leaders as Mrs. Addison Pendergast, Mrs. George Sidles, Mrs. George Frogge, Mrs. James Hunter, Mrs. G. D. Mincks, Mrs. A. F. Hawkins and many more.
First President
  The first president of the WSCS was the late Miss Kathryn Hawkins, followed by Mrs. James Felkner, who has also served as pianist for many years. Susie Sidles, Mrs. Richard Mincks, Mrs. Charley McGavran, Mrs. Gail Felkner and the present president, Mrs. Paul Felkner.
Methodist Ministers in Jerome, 1886-1953
  [This section on the ministers who served the Jerome Methodist Church in the period 1886-1953 was previously posted to The Jerome Journal on April 21, 2009.]
Sunday School Superintendents
  In spite of many changes the church has carried on for 100 years. Much of its success is due to the faithful Sunday school superintendents and teachers. After the new church was built Mrs. Joe Barton was superintendent. Harry Stark also was superintendent for many years, and the Mrs. G. D. Mincks.
  More recent superintendents have been Paul McElvain and Richard Mincks. Present superintendent is Paul Felkner. 

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